FEATURE: Fourteen-year-old Collin Wentzien 3D prints face shields for healthcare workers

2020 - Neighborhood Hero - Collin W.

The Quakes and Wells Fargo are humbled and inspired by the amazing work of our frontline communities and neighbors in this time of crisis. Each week, we’ll be featuring and highlighting the work of one fantastic neighborhood hero, showcasing the great work they are doing and the organizations our community can rally around.

Additionally, a donation will be made to an organization or community project on behalf of each week’s hero. This week we will be donating to the Valley Medical Center Foundation. To learn more about the organization, and ways go get involved, visit: https://vmcfoundation.org/campaigns/covid19/

14-year-old Collin Wentzien prints 3D face shields for healthcare workers

Not many 14-year-olds can say they are changing lives in between middle school classes. For Collin Wentzien, 3D printing face shields for hospitals is just another day of eighth grade. 

The Fisher Middle School student has always known of his love and talent for building things.  Two years ago, he acquired a 3D printer and the rest is history.

Collin learned through YouTube tutorials how to use a 3D printer. He began with small projects and progressed to bringing his own conceptual ideas into real-life objects.

Being the son of two doctors, he heard about the need for safety equipment in hospitals and decided to act. After some trial and error, Collin was able to perfect his model for face shields in only one day. 

“It took me about a day to refine my design, and I've been printing them ever since,” says Collin. 

He begins by making 2D drawings of objects, then uses computer programs to expand the drawings into 3D.

Collin explains his face shields as a plastic headband-like frame you wear like a pair of sunglasses. Attached to the band is a clear plastic sheet to protect the face. 

The printing time for each shield is roughly 30-40 minutes. This has allowed Collin to balance printing shields while staying on top of his school work and class sessions. Collin will be working on school assignments, and periodically walk over to the printer to reset and print another shield. He repeats this as many times in a day as he can. 

At the end of the day Collin assembles all the pieces that were printed and completes the shields. So far, he has been able to produce 30 face shields in the past three days.

Collin has designed a website to share information about his product, resources and instructions for others with 3D printers. 

“The idea of the website was to inspire other people,” he says. 

Collin has received much support from his family, friends and the medical community. Eventually he hopes to buy a second printer to speed up the production process.

“The idea is to help people and make a difference…I want to try to help people as much as possible,” says Collin. 

When Collin is not in online classes or printing face shields, he’s playing soccer. He is the starting center full back at Fisher MS, and for his club, Los Gatos United. 

Collin is also part of the Earthquakes community as his uncle, Chris Wentzien, is an Earthquakes alumni who played center full back and received 1988 Player of the Year honors.